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Friends in the Industry

Updated: 4 days ago



Tradition.  It plays a huge role in jazz, bluegrass and folk music.  In the latter two categories such great songsmiths as Norman Blake, Steve Spurgeon and Larry Coryell glean inspiration from their traditional musical roots.  Many modern day jazz players built the foundation of their chop vocabulary on the great solos of yesteryear (think Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, John Coltrane).  How many of us Boomers cocked a young ear to the stereo (OK, hi-fi) when it played the likes of Josh White, Flatt and Scruggs, the Kingston Trio, the Chad Mitchell Trio, and Doc Watson.


Fast forward to 2008.  Try walking into a “record store” (if you can find one) and buying the work of some esoteric song writer, hip saxophone cat or fiery banjo player not yet a household name.  I’ve heard it said that most downloaded music and CDs are bought by 12 to 15-year-old kids.  Where does that leave the rest of us who might not embrace synthesized rhythm tracks and re-mixed dance music?


Blue Night Records has distribution relationships with a couple of organizations that fill the need (craving?) many of us have for independently produced music that’s not part of the popular pablum being fed to the masses. 


ELDERLY INSTRUMENTS in East Lansing, Michigan is a dream come true.  For anyone interested in acoustic music, it’s heaven on earth.  Guitars, banjos, mandolins, violins, . . . virtually any kind of stringed instrument is there to be played, adopted, and taken home.  I’ve bought several guitars from them over the internet on approval, and they’ve always turned out to be even better than their knowledgeable sales staff described over the phone.  Elderly also has a CD distribution arm (Sidestreet Distributing) that focuses heavily on independently produced, traditionally-based acoustic music.  Chances are, when you go into that funky, cool little boutique or music store around the corner, the CD’s you find have been supplied by Sidestreet.  Go to Elderly’s web site ( and peruse their inventory.  I’m happy to report that you can find any Blue Night Records release there.


CD BABY is another friend of ours.  Their distribution efforts are exclusively electronic, and their title and artist list is gigantic.  If your musical interests go well beyond the acoustic and the traditional, you may want to give CD Baby ( a try.  Can’t find that illusive CD by the local grunge or Ska band just released?  Chances are you can find it at CD Baby.


Good luck, and thanks for supporting independent musicians!

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